Although Bella was only in preschool three mornings a week this past year, knowing that I would soon have five days a week with all three children 24/7 made me feel a bit worried...
I usually am a planner, but I'm either a PLAN EVERY SINGLE SECOND type of planner or a LET'S JUST WING IT type of procrastinated planner. I've decided to work on being somewhere in the middle, and that's where today's Working On Things post comes in.
This definitely isn't a pin-worthy post, but it most definitely is a post for the realistic mother out there who is too busy to make fancy calendars and organize every minute, but still wants to create some semblance of a plan for the summer so she and her children don't hate each other or go bananas.
I had wanted to create a plan for the summer, but any thoughts on the matter only led to feeling overwhelmed because, in my usual way, I thought my plans would have to be fairly ornate, beautiful, and complicated. But then I got a helpful nudge from a newish Instagram account I've been following, called Thriving Motherhood. She shared this post, where she showed how she began to organize her summer plans. She simply showed a list of themes and the week they were assigned, with the plan to later decide on outings based on those themes.
When I saw that, I thought, "I can do that!" Instead of feeling depressed and that I was a no-good mother, her post made me think that I just needed to Keep It Simple, Stupid and not search Pinterest for ideas.
Based off that, I wrote down a quick list of potential themes that I'd like to do with my kids, involving both their interests and ones that I would like them to learn about. Brad contributed some themes as well, via text! (Need ideas? I started with: Art, Weather, Manners, Animals, Marine Animals, Trains, Healthy Food, Exercise, Family, etc.)
From there, I printed off three months of my apple calendar, and started assigning themes to each week based off our summer plans. For example, I put "Mountains" on the week we are going to do lots of hiking on vacation with my family. After that, I added some potential field trips that relate to the weekly themes.
Then at the top of my first month, I wrote down a general schedule we'll have for each day of the week. I'd like to include a little homeschooling each day (I'm talking like 15 minutes per kid), mini-lessons on the week's theme, or even crafts a few days a week. We also really, really have to get out of the house--hence, field trips! I assigned accordingly, but you know--sometimes you just have to throw everything out the window! It's all flexible. But having that goal in mind will push me out of my PJs and reaching for our plans instead.
I also added two post-it notes for the big kids' special chores. I've assigned a little symbol to each chore, so once they've done those special chores, we'll draw that symbol on the day of the week they completed it. At the end of the week, they'll get a quarter for each one done.
Finally, I thought that each weekend, I'll take 10 or so minutes to look a bit on pinterest to find a craft or a little preschool lesson that goes with the upcoming week's topic. Again, the plan is to keep things simple where that's concerned. I feel that the best thing I can do for my kids learning right now is to read to them as much as possible, so most days that's what our little "homeschooling" will be. I'm also going to assign that week a character trait that I think we need to work on. (In that first picture, you can see I added "Sharing" under that week's theme.)
We just finished our first week, and while we didn't make it to the museum I was planning on (life got in the way, AKA I drove my car into our garage door...), we still read a lot of books, made some water color paintings, and learned about weather! The "lessons" were brought to us by searching "Weather AND kids" on youtube, so obviously it was well planned out ;)
I'm hoping to go to the library this weekend to get books specifically for our next week's theme, "Manners." Our field trips involve going to places where we can practice our polished manners (such as talking to a cashier and looking at them in the eye, saying please and thank you, etc.) and having a "nice" family dinner where they can use their improved table manners.
Reading back through this post, it might seem more complicated that it really is--but I promise, this initial planning took me about 10 minutes while eating lunch. If you haven't made your plans yet, go for it! And just copy mine!
If you have already made your own version of this, what are your plans? Any tips?